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Hardcore bands are kind of like the Tea Party: Both have strong opinions and are keen on shoving their righteous agendas down as many throats as possible. The genre can be off-putting, but local thrash-hardcore act American Standards proves that the preachy positivism isn't always a bad thing. The band's name might read like a Tea Party rally sign, but the band's activist slant — releasing music on compilation albums to benefit Halo, a local no-kill animal shelter, and to raise money for a 15-year-old girl with lung and bone cancer — feels utterly bipartisan. Most of the profit is donated to charity and the remainder is spent on pressing albums. "You don't have to be this mainstream band or even a big band; you can be a small band or even just a person and organize these different things, and make your artwork come through and be supportive of things you really believe in outside of just yourself," says vocalist Brandon Kellum. Discouraged by making little more than gas money while playing in previous bands, the members of American Standards set out to give back to the community by supporting local businesses and charities. So rather than preach, the five dudes in American Standards seem more content to put their money where they mouth is.